By Kimberly Pistone
For the Sidney Daily News
FLETCHER – Hope Closet Dress Ministry provides prom and homecoming dresses to local high school girls in need of a formal dress, at no cost to the girls or their families.
The ministry began in 2019 and outfitted about 70 girls for prom that year – providing not only dresses but also shoes, purses and jewelry. They are expecting to help outfit over 100 girls this year.
Hope Closet Dress Ministry is able to provide dresses to anyone who asks at no cost, because everything they have has been donated. When they began they had about 600 dresses donated from the community, another organization and a dress shop. Now they have well over 1,000 dresses, and serve a growing area as far as Wapakoneta and Urbana.
Beginning at the end of February, they will be taking appointments for girls to come dress shopping with a volunteer personal shopper. During the hour long appointment, the personal shopper helps the girl try on around nine dresses, and then they visit the accessory room where they find their purse, shoes and jewelry. Everything is bagged up like a boutique for the girls. The girls are encouraged to re-donate their dresses to help other girls, but it is not required.
Shantel Anderson and Kelly Cook are the coordinators for the ministry.
Cook said, “I have three daughters. They all went to the formal dances, and I thought not every girl gets this experience – to shop and try on dresses. We provide this at no cost, and this is one less expense for families that are looking at the cost of the dress and dinner out and hair and make-up. We just want to help these girls.”
Hope Closet Dress Ministry always needs donations of current style dresses in plus sizes, dressy shoes – both flat and heels, formal purses, and prom style jewelry. They are also in need of more volunteers.
Dresses and other prom items can be donated at Fletcher Church at 205 S. Walnut St., Fletcher, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Donations will also be accepted at St. John’s Church, located at 248 Wood St. in Piqua, on specific dates which will be posted on their website and Facebook page. Donations must be clean, in good condition and no more than three years old.
This year everyone must make an appointment. The appointment page will be available beginning around Feb. 20 at www.fletcherchurch.org/hopecloset. There is also a form for volunteers on the website.